Q: I bought a hamster a couple of months ago but he recently lost part of this tongue on his tooth. What should I do? Let it heal up on its own or take him someplace? He isn’t drinking water, meaning he isn’t eating either.
A: What you describe is very unusual. If the tongue is normal and if the dentition is normal, what you describe should not happen. Because your hamster is not drinking and not eating, this is a reason to visit your veterinarian as soon as you can.
It is common in hamsters for dental disease to occur. Both the lower and upper incisors can overgrow. When these teeth overgrow, they can grow into the gums and even pierce the tongue. This leads to blood loss and pain, and eventually the hamster will not eat or drink.
It may seem that part of tongue has been lost, but it is more likely that a piece of the lower or upper lip may have been damaged by overgrown teeth and this has caused the changes you have observed. If there is truly a loss of the tongue, hamsters can compensate well for this once the initial lesion has healed.
Your hamster may need supportive care to get through this painful episode. Care may include fluid support such as subcutaneous fluids. Nutritional support, such as syringe feeding an appropriate mixture of calories and other nutrients, can be life-saving in some cases. Finally, we cannot forget about pain relief, as we all can relate to how painful it is when we accidentally bite our tongue. Your hamster may be feeling the same pain as we do.